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New Video Urges Congress to Close the Innovation Deficit

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 16:31


With President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal due next week and the appropriations season starting on Capitol Hill, a coalition of 14 business, higher education, and scientific organizations today launched a creative video that urges Congress to close the innovation deficit with strong federal investments in research and higher education.

The four-minute video, featuring rapidly hand-drawn images and text, can be viewed on the Close the Innovation Deficit website. It explains the direct link between basic research, economic growth, improved medical treatments, and national security; the risk that recent cuts to research pose to the United States’ role as the global innovation leader at a time when other nations are rapidly increasing their research investments; and the significant benefits that renewed investments in research would bring the country.

The innovation deficit is the gap between actual and needed federal investments in research and higher education at a time when other nations such as China, India, and Singapore are dramatically boosting research funding to develop the next great technological and medical breakthroughs.

The 14 organizations behind the Close the Innovation Deficit video are the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Council on Education (ACE), American Heart Association, Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), Council on Competitiveness (CoC), Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI; of which the AAS is a member), The Science Coalition (TSC), and United for Medical Research (UMR).

The Close the Innovation Deficit campaign is an effort by these and other organizations that are concerned about cuts and stagnating federal investments in research and higher education. The groups, including the AAS, believe the U.S. must make strong and sustained investments in these areas to develop the people, ideas, and innovations needed to ensure that the U.S. maintains its role as global leader. The groups believe that the growth supported by innovation will help address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems.

According to the National Science Board, the U.S. share of global research and development (R&D) declined from 37% to 30% since 2001. During the same period, the economies of East and Southeast Asia and South Asia — including China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan — saw an increase in their combined share from 25% to 34% of the global total. The pace of growth over the past 10 years in China’s overall R&D remains exceptionally high at about 18% annually adjusted for inflation, propelling it to 14.5% of the global total in 2011, up from 2.2% in 2000.

In addition to the new video, the redesigned Close the Innovation Deficit website now features an array of compelling charts that detail the impact that U.S. cuts and foreign investments are having on the nation’s role as innovation leader.

— Adapted from a press release (342-kilobyte PDF) issued by the AAU and APLU.

Richard Tresch Fienberg
Press Officer
American Astronomical Society (AAS)